I love to read. Always have, as long as they make glasses strong enough to correct my vision, I expect I always will. At the beginning of each summer I go on a book spree. I pick a book store, or book section of a store I frequent (Target is a favorite), and buy every single book I find interesting. Or at least the top 10 or so. I try to stay away from books I’ve heard much about, tend to allow the titles, cover graphics, and back blurbs draw me in.
Once I get my purchase home, I’m like a kid at Christmas – sorting the books by size, re-reading the jacket cover blurbs, prioritizing the order in which I will read the new stack. This is how I discovered Shelter Me, by Juliette Fay. The story was refreshing. Janie became a real person within the first few pages. A widow, a mother, and eventually a woman finding her next chapter – this was someone I could identify with. I was impressed with the way Juliette incorporated the children into the story. They were not simply there to fill space. They were part of Janie, infiltrated into every aspect of her life. Real. I enjoyed the story and was sorry when it ended.
Jump to a month ago, BookQuest 2014. My intention was slightly different this year. In the midst of writing my own first novel, I am hungry to read more of what has inspired me thus far. Looking back at my favorites from last year, I searched for anything new from Amy Sue Nathan (The Glass Wives), Kimberley Freeman (Wildflower Hill), Juliette Fay (Shelter Me), Vanessa Diffenbaugh (The Language of Flowers), or Meg Waite Clayton (The Wednesday Sisters).
I was thrilled to find Deep Down True and The Shortest Way Home, both by Juliette Fay. So they are not brand new, better I find these late than never. Partially through Deep Down True, I have not been disappointed. I’m again impressed with the use of the children to bring the story to life. ‘Dana’ just wouldn’t be a real person if not fully developed as a mother. Another trend I notice in Juliette’s writing style is her use of plot twists. There are many instances I find myself holding my breath, expecting to have the rug pulled out from under the latest revealed truth. But the twist ends up being that there is no twist, face value is true. When so many novels these days appear to be written simply to incorporate as many plot twists as the author can squeeze in, whether they advance the story or not, I appreciate this straight forward style. I look forward to diving into The Shortest Way Home as well, although I’m sure I’ll need a few extra days to let go of Dana and her crew once I reach the end of her story.
I have this crazy habit of extrapolating a particularly good book – allowing the characters to live on for a while after I finish the last page. Imagining what happened after the last word was written, was it really happily ever after, etc. Do you ever do this?
I have a question thought, for anyone else who may have read Deep Down True. There is one sentence in chapter 23 that is bugging me. Completely no big deal, but it keeps coming back to me. Dana and Tina are wrapping up a very uncomfortable phone conversation when Tina says, “The nurse is waiting. Bye.” …and the call ended. What nurse?? What did I miss? Any insight? Please clue me in!
What are you reading this summer? Do your reading tastes change with the season? Leave comments, let me know!